BLOGS AND ARTICLES FROM THE POS SOLUTIONS TEAM

Point of Sale Software

Scales by weight

POS SOFTWARE

If you sell or would like to weight items to make a bundle or package to trade in your shop, eg cheese, spices, fruit, dips, potatoes, etc. You are in luck as we have some top-quality scales that can do this

 

 

 

and produce a professional label for your shop.

 

It is extremely fast in operation. What you do is grab some items, put them in a container, then on the scale and our POS system produces a label that can be used at the cash register.

It is also advantageous if you have a deli in the back of your shop and your cash registers are in the front.

To anyone that seriously sells spices, I would say its a must.

 

 

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Storm Area 51

POS SOFTWARE

Well if anyone wants an example of the power of Facebook in today's world, well here it is Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us. Over 2 million people have signed up to go, although it is highly doubtful that anywhere that number will show up. 

Even if an alien or evidence of any alien technology is there which I doubt, I am sure it will not be found. If it is there, it will be moved and/or hidden today. And I doubt that any of the demonstrators will get anywhere near the base. They are quite a distance from the wall, and the wall encloses an area of 8,000 sq miles. Area 51 is about 150 sq miles and is well inside this wall. The area is protected by many guards who are instructed to shoot to kill and people have been killed trying to break in. There are good reasons for the guards' concerns to keep people out as we do know that the area has highly toxic materials lying around and two people who work in Area 51, probably died from this. I just hope no-one gets hurt.

Still, it has proven to be a significant business event, many businesses and merchandise related to this event are on offer. If you have some items that fit such an event, you should put it in front as there is undoubtedly a lot of buzz about it.

 

 

 

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Your cash breakup

POS SOFTWARE

In your point of sale software, now is a very powerful tool to see your cash breakup. Any study of this is getting into the heart of a business.

 

So off we go, in the main menu select "End of day."

 

Now in your Options menu marked in green, tick everything, so you are going to get as much detail as you can. 

 

 

 

Now in the Option above, as for the following 

 

 

Now you are going to get a detailed report on all the cash takings for the last 12 months.

 

Now one part that I do suggest that you look at is the Sales Payment Breakup, in that you can see an analysis of how people are paying in your shop. I am sure just that alone will make interesting reading.

 

Enjoy!!!

 

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Sorry, we are upgrading our website.

POS SOFTWARE

 

Our website is currently being upgraded and restructured which is why some people who we thank are notifying us of any issues they are experiencing with the site.  Please continue as we want to bed it down.

What it is, is that we are pushing to make it better.

Note we believe although there is much to do that it is running properly now

 

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Setting your priorities right … P0, P1, P2, …

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

Every day we need to balance our priorities, this is the most popular system which is the most common in software, it is a combination of urgent and important.

  • P0. Your Mum dying, kids are in trouble, a guy just had a heart attack in the shop and now nothing else matters. This P0 just block everything else and stops all thought of scheduling. 

 

  • P1. The system is down and is needed now
  • P2. Some important function really needed now is not working but we can operate
  • P3. Some important function is required soon but it can wait
  • P4. A non-urgent question that can wait.

You may want to try it with your own scheduling as it does work, I use a combination of urgent, work time and important. I look at each task for today, and then set my tasks by the following formula in the following software. It can talk to our software.

Urgent tasks  Are they urgent or can they wait.

Workload Will they take a lot of time, preference to those that I can do quickly. Ideally, I want to get as many tasks off my lists ASAP

Important If they are more important I will do them first

It works for me. 

 

 

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Monitoring your loyalty VIP program

POS SOFTWARE

According to a recent survey we did, we discovered that most of our clients have some form of loyalty VIP program in place. Assuming you have one, you need to monitor it.

What you are trying to do with such a program is to increase the number of sales of high-margin products proactively.

So what you want is a scientific list of what people that are using your loyalty VIP programs are doing with it. I strongly suggest that you do not just rely on gut feel and its not hard to get such a list from our POS software as it collects the sales information on your customers’ purchase histories. This allows you to identify what your loyalty VIP program is doing.

One report that I suggest you look at is "loyalty vs Non-loyalty sales", in cash register reports marked here in green.

 

 

Now if you go into it, although it has plenty of options, just keep it simple for now and put in the last 12 months and run it.

Now out will pop put a comparison list of exactly what the loyal VIP and regular customers are buying.

In particular look at the profit field, it is not uncommon now for over a third of profit in a modern retailer to be from these VIP customers. What is interesting is that they are much more profitable per visit than regular customers.

Now also there is a row there of %Gross Profit. This is for you to see what high margin items people are buying and to allow you to identify possible products for your VIP customers to buy.

Lastly, there is a row of costs so you can see precisely what these VIP customers cost you.

 

 

 

 

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Time is money

POS SOFTWARE

Our POS software is built for speed. It is the fastest in our market space, but we are increasing the speed on the next version. 

Time, after all, is precious and I think it is essential that as technology continues to move we take advantages of the latest advances to keep your business running as quickly as possible.

Some places it is nice, no-one likes to wait for a long report but in the cash register its critical.  If the queues start to get big, then people walk out and I know from personal experience nothing upsets us more then seeing people dumping their proposed purchases and leaving.  It gets worse as people seeing a long queue in your shop do not even come in.  

Today, most of the time taken in processing a transaction is independent of the point of sale software. Every customer when being processed today should be greeted with a friendly smile, hellos exchanged, they are processed, the cash or EFTPOS is handled, goodbyes are said, and they go. The industry standard to do this is about 40 seconds a transaction plus about three seconds for each item to scanned and rung up.  So if they want to buy four things, the time taken is expected to be about 40 seconds plus four items in their basket at 3 seconds each so it is about 52 seconds. 

Very little of this time is actually due to the POS software slowing down the transaction.

Here is the current speed test of about 20,000 cash register transactions in a busy shop.  Note when the new version is out in beta, I will do an update.

The average speed of a transaction was about 36 seconds a sale which is what I expected as our clients tend to have low numbers in their baskets and they are almost all in high volume pressure environments.

Here is what the graph looks like 

 

Cash register transaction speeds

As you can see in a pinch, our clients are doing transactions much less than 36 seconds as you can see here in seconds.

Transaction speed raw data

I think our clients should budget about 36 seconds plus or minus here. 

 

 

 

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MYOB

POS SOFTWARE

 

There were problems this morning with MYOB, with people trying to log in, when we tested it then there was a problem however according to MYOB the problems have been fixed.

Also, I have tested it now and it seems all fine.

 

 

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Try using email in your point-of-sale system to market

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

 

Most of our clients use social media, mainly Facebook, to market their business, but I would recommend although it is more work to look at email. On the basic version, email is also free so several of my clients take advantage of this to send email newsletters free.

It is one of the best solutions for small-business owners who are just starting email marketing campaigns, mainly because of its free service for small businesses. So my advice is to try it first and if it does not work out after a while and you find you want something better well at least you will have acquired the necessary experience and knowledge to move on.

Now the first step is to collect emails, lots of them. Consider running a contest in your shop, to build up your email list. Some ideas my clients use, a free second chance at lotto, a cake, a gift voucher, a special offer etc. To enter the customer needs to fill out a form or deposit your business card. What you need to start are about 500 accounts to kick start it.

If you require, we provide a free service to our clients which supplies you for your geographic area a list of email addresses for the local businesses too to help out. But please 

Note about Spamming

There are strict laws in Australia about spamming and maybe check with your association first before sending any email newsletters to these businesses.

Our understanding of the law and we are not solicitors nor experts in such matters is that if a person gives you, an email address on a business card, then it is okay to send them an email newsletter. If they are in a business that you supply goods that they require like a tap supplier, you can send an email newsletter to a plumber about taps without permission but a solicitor even though they use taps too in their office, you cannot send without permission.

Ready to start

Now once you have about 500 email addresses, the next step is to get our existing client's email addresses into the newsletter system. The most popular method of sending such newsletters by far with our point-of-sale system is with MailChimp although there are many others that do similar tasks and from my research, they are all technically about the same. Not one stood out to me in functionality. 

Now to get them into MailChimp please go to cash register reports.

Then go to customers.

 

Once there select

Customer List (Excel)

Now run the report, and it will give you a listing of your customers and their email addresses. This you import into MailChimp. I would recommend doing this regularly in that way as then your email marketing has the latest email addresses.


Now what you need to do is write an email newsletter. This will take some time at first but get easier as time gets on.

The read rate is about 20+%, so on 500 emails, you will have 100 readers which is a good start to build on.

Now the next step is to figure out what is the best times to send these emails. The same email can vary up to 20% readership. There is no getting around the fact that every business is different and both the best day and time varies. After a while, you will work it out. 

Also, what you need to consider is that promotions can be especially useful; a newsletter before a significant event or holiday shopping season can be very effective. 

By timing your emails right, you will get maximum results from your efforts.

 

Make sure that each of your email newsletters has your name and address, and an unsubscribe note; you can get into big trouble if you do not. 

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What suppliers do you do business and which you don't.

POS SOFTWARE

People if you are close often, as a retailer in a shop lose sight of the big picture and stare at the details. It is easy to do.

Here is a quick report that can instantly show you what people/companies are essential in your business. In register reports go to > stock sales. Now you will find the following report

Click on it. Now although there is a lot of options here, let us make it simple and just put in last financial year

Now, will pop out a report showing which suppliers contributed the most to your business. Often they stand out as it is not uncommon nowadays for two or three suppliers to give you 80% to 90% of your business. I suggest the figures you concentrate are the number of sales and profit. The number will show why people are coming into the store and the profit will tell you where the money is being made.

An interesting exercise here is after studying this report say to yourself "I am a ..... seller"

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Why Touch Screen is better?

POS SOFTWARE

Touch-screen technology is everywhere in point of sale software now as today touchscreens are pretty comparable in price.  

Here are three significant advantages to using touch.

1) They are easier to use; it is more natural to press buttons highlighted on the computer. Plus it is also much easier to use as your eyes do not have to keep looking away from the screen to the keyboard. 

2) It is faster according to some studies I have seen. They report it is 20% faster. That is why most corporate and large clients of ours always use touch as most people today are not a touch typist.

3) You do not need such a big desk. Non-touch screens to work need a mini desk as a keyboard and mouse need to be handy to work. 

Our POS system is built for touch, so you may want to give it a try.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Clean a Printer

POS SOFTWARE

 

After a while in any retail point of sale system, you are going to get on your print smudges and lines appearing. Also, the number of paper jams will start to increase. If allowed to continue the printer will become unusable. Cleaning your printer is required.

Here are some steps.

What you will need

I recommend you make a solution of white vinegar and water rather than any of the prepared cleaning solutions.

Some cloth, e.g. a cleaning cloth or an old cotton rag

If you have a small vacuum cleaner which you can get in most electrical shops.

Some small brushes again which you can get in most electrical shops.

Some mechanical attribute

Please do not use compressed air; if you do not know what you are doing what you might end out doing is blowing the dust and moisture into places it should not go. It is just adding problems.

Steps to do:-

Turn off the printer, take all wires off it before attempting to clean

Wait a while some five (5) minutes before starting to clean. 

Dim the lights, as in some printers the internals do not like bright light.

Now throughout the clean, avoid any electrical items and all electronics. Only there use a dry cloth. Do not touch anything electrical. You can damage it.

Remove and open what you can, eg the toner cartridge and clean those items.

Look for dirt and gently lift it. The brushes and vacuum cleaners can help here a lot.

Where there is nothing electrical use the moist cotton cloth, make sure that it is not wet.

The spilled toner, dust, hair, and built-up old paper fragments can gum up your printer and sometimes will need some real elbow grease to remove.

Do not worry if you have only done say 70%. It should be enough. Better too little than too much.

Now put it back together again.

Now clean the outside, with a moist cloth, I find for hard to remove stains AJAX very good. 

However, make sure that nothing is wet.

Now dry the outside.

Wait a few minutes to let any residual water dry off and only then turn on the printer.

A clean printer beside being less of an eyesore in the shop, will print better and also last longer.

I hope this helps.

 

 

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Proof of purchase

POS SOFTWARE

In the point of sale software, there was a record of a purchase of an item by a customer unknown. A person who had no proof that they purchased that item, came in and showed that item and demanded a refund.  The store manager was very suspicious, and soon this started a debate of what exactly is required for proof of purchase.

As a rule for a person to exercise their rights for a refund, a replacement, repair, etc, for an item, they need some proof of purchase. The problem here is that under Australian Consumer Law, it is not described what sufficient proof of purchase is. What it state is that the person must be able to demonstrate that they did purchase that item reasonably. If they can that, then a store may be breaking the law if it denies them this right.

It does not have to be a receipt; for example, here is some example of what proof of purchase can be:

  1. A bank or credit card statement
  2. An agreement with the store, eg a lay-by note
  3. An email

One problem, I can see here is what happens with faded receipts, if I come into your store with essentially a blank sheet of paper, what would you do? If it was me, I would insist on some other evidence.

If you want to know more, click here.

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Latest microsoft update

POS SOFTWARE

Ever since last month when Microsoft began pushing out its latest upgrade, things aren’t going so well. Our clients reported a variety of significant and obscure errors.

As always everyone is often afraid to fix the problem as who knows what other problems you can make when fixing it. Quite a few users of ours got the blue screen when someone attempted to fix it. 

I tell you what was annoying about this to us. Although Microsoft confirmed the problem was in the upgrade, Microsoft was getting people to upgrade even though it continued to cause problems. 

We would have pulled the plug on these updates until it was bedded it down.

Some problems remain, for example, some users are reporting a sudden freeze that lasts a couple of seconds, and then the computer restarts automatically. On a server, that it is pretty bad.

There also appears that once someone fixes up the immediate problem, other problems arise. We have had people after Microsoft fix it, report that they cannot use many of the functions they require.

As such, after this bad experience, we will soon be putting together an information sheet once Microsoft bed down their new feature specially designed to mitigate faulty updates like this. What it will allow is a user to postpone Windows updates so that other users can test them first. Then if it does go wrong, to enable a user to roll back faulty updates. This will help with this problem not totally but reduce it by about 80%.

This update has been a real mess, and Microsoft has done here little to inspire confidence with them.

If you want to know where we are at click here.

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Newspaper Carrier Day

POS SOFTWARE

For those that sell newspapers, some history, once they printed newspapers, they discovered that they needed a runner to deliver it, so the paperboy was invented. For hundreds of years boys like this guy pictured in 1961, got up early to sell newspapers on the street and deliver them to people houses. 

To honour these boys and some females, although they tended to be older, today we have #NewspaperCarrierDay 

PS For those like me, that used to be paperboys, your in good company both Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr were paperboys too.

 

 

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Naming a business and its ventures

POS SOFTWARE

This is a problem that crops up a lot in business.

You are going to try something new in the market, so you need a name. It is one of the first problems you will have in your business. It crops up, again and again, e.g. you are running a lotto synidicate this week, you want an online webstore, say you are going to start a new product line selling vitamin pills in the shop, etc well what are you going to call it?

I read an interesting article on facebook, by a professional who for a living advises people on what to name their business ventures. I am sure he charges thousands of dollars for doing it, but he sparked a lot of peoples interest on the subject.

Here are my steps for doing a naming and some observations  

Write down some ideas that identify your proposed products, some immediate ideas on a business name, eg a butcher shop on North Rd might think of "North Rd Butcher", competitors names - it worked for them why not for you, etc. Now several websites that can help you. My current favourite is here but there are many more sites so pick the one you like. Now put into the search box one by one these ideas and flick through the options and its proposed names and write down the ones you want. I am sure there are many good ideas here. 

For a website, try and link it to your actual name if possible. Your new website should feed the shop, and your shop should feed the new website. Why re-invent the wheel, so use the resources you have.

Now talk it over with people but trust your judgement, as you will have to live with the name. So pick a name that communicates your business.

Shorten the proposed name and see if you like it because, over time, it is the short name that you and everyone else will be using. Invariably I do not tell people I work for POS Solutions. I say POS if they ask its Point of Sale.

There is no excuse not to check the proposed names and grammar in google translate  with several languages that will be used by the locals. As you do not want every few days someone telling you cafe name means this "*gh^%@!"  in their language or your French grammar is wrong. At best, you look unprofessional, at worst it can be pretty bad. I had a client who discovered that his business name based on the street he was on, translated into English meant something like a castrated pig store which is to Eastern Europeans particularly nasty. The guy that named the street, I am sure had a really good laugh when the council adopted it. So I would strongly suggest that you check your proposed name with several languages. At least Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Greek and Italian.

It is worth taking some time as a good business name can go a long way to making your business and/or website.
 

Note: Sometimes you get only a limited choice. For example, when we were starting up, I wanted POS (Point of Sale) Software because that is what we were marketing. My partner wanted Positive Solutions because he was a positive fellow and we had a Point of Sale Solution, so I compromised it and made it POS Solutions.  Everyone liked it, so we ran with that. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lottoland

POS SOFTWARE

This surprised me as its been a while, is that many in the lotto industry have not been following the news about Lottoland.

The matter went to the  NSW Supreme Court, and Lottoland successfully overturned a government ruling that threatened to end its business in Australia by declaring its gambling products illegal.

Lottoland remains in Australia.

I do believe that several people have much explaining to do with their claims they made to lotto franchisees about precisely what they would and did accomplish. Maybe that is why no-one is saying anything about it to them?

My view has not changed.

Lotto franchisers missed a golden chance to get something while the politicians, supposedly with their interests in mind last year, were talking of their concern for their small businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Narrow your focus

POS SOFTWARE

Every item on your shelf takes up room. Generally, a good seller takes just as much place as a poor seller. It also takes just as much time and effort in looking after it and possibly even more time in dusting, and it earns less.

Here is a picture of a pen rack

I can guarantee you that only a few pen types here are making most of the sales. When I reported on the pen sales on one brand in a shop over three years, I found that they had sold over 450 different types of pens and something like 80% of the profit was in the top 10% of pens. 

 

Towards the end of this list, sales were like one sale in three years, and there were pages of these items. Consider how much profit they are making on these slower-moving items.

What is also particularly interesting is that the most profitable pen was not mainly a high seller. Looking at this list, it is clear the most popular one is a black pen. I bet people came into the store, with one thought about the pen, I need a simple black pen. It is quite possible the range did not sell much of these pens but the convenience. 

The reality is that we cannot be all things to all people. Maybe fewer products would be better than more. Perhaps some of your space could be used instead of having many mediocre items and replacing them with a new category of things that are outstanding sellers. Could that shelf space be devoted to quicker-moving, more marketable items? 

Want to investigate your stock, here is a step by step method for doing this.

Go to register reports and select the top stock report as marked with the red arrow here.

 

You get this screen

 

In this case, here I used the category of Artline pens, I put in 99 million in to make sure I get everything, and as I like to get a long term view, I selected three years.

Then I got the above report

Once you get this right, if you want to increase your stock range in this category, well you can expand your business later.

 

 

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EFTPOS/Credit reliability

POS SOFTWARE

If EFTPOS unit goes down, a typical effect today is that a merchant loses about half their business and  I guarantee that this figure will go up. We have some merchants serious thinking of giving up cash altogether in which case it will be 100%.

A short time ago almost every EFTPOS unit went down with a problem from Telstra. Yesterday CBA had a problem. Today our helpdesk had people ringing up about issues with ANZ. If I made a bet that someone will contact us tomorrow about an EFTPOS unit problem, I would win as TPG is currently having internet issues.

As such, I think you should have thoughts about possible disaster planning with EFTPOS.  

So have a chew about these units.

 

 

 

 

 

It is available from Assembly payments through Westpac, and it is part of the Presto Smart integrated EFTPOS solution. It connects directly to your computer and/or LAN (local area network) to incorporate the EFTPOS to your Point of Sale. How should your internet connection go down, this unit automatically switches over to 3G so you can continue to take payments on EFTPOS. If the 3G completely fails, it will still work in standalone mode.

Conclusion - these 3G and standalone backups in case of failure makes EFTPOS much more reliable.

If you are interested in knowing more let me know or click here.

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Compare yourself

POS SOFTWARE

One successful and popular method of improving a business is called kaizen. It originated in Japan, and the word translates to mean change (kai) for good (zen). It works by using an approach of continuous, incremental improvement. 

The idea of kaizen is that you work on making small improvements. Every day you fine-tune your processes and practice. What you are working for is continuous improvement and that over time, all of these incremental changes will add up, and make a significant positive impact on your business.

 

Now people often tell me that for some reason their retail shop cannot do what someone else in a similar retail shop is doing. For some reason, they are different. Okay, what about doing what you have done in the past with just a little better. That person you were had with similar resources to you now, a similar shop and customers? Ask yourself, what did your past self do better? What about competing with that person? Interested, if so, you are looking at kaizen.

What you do is use your historical reports in stock, sales trends, promotions and customer sales and now compare it to what you are doing now?

It is easy to do look at the calendar last year and find a date comparable to yesterday and now check your performance compared to their performance.

Now look at their tomorrow and see what they did then and how your shop looks for your tomorrow? It will be a massive benefit to you to try to predict what items will sell well and which probably won’t. What you are trying to do is your stock, get your prices right and guide your promotions (Father's Day coming). This can add up to running a profitable and successful small business.

Here is a start

Go to Register reports

 

 

Now select "Top N Stock Sales for a Given Period"

 

 

Now the following popped up.

Put in *their* tomorrow

 

A report for the top sellers for today comes up.

Now, these need to be checked that you have enough stock because that is what they sold, why not you.

Also while you are at it, one point that comes up a lot in retail is a top seller today will be a good seller tomorrow. Technically its called the decay. Typically in retail, what you expect to see is that an item that sells 50 today will sell about 66% of 50 or about 30 tomorrow and day after that 66% of 30 and so on. What you need to do is identify today what is selling well to check you have adequate stock for tomorrow.

Gives there two tips a shot, I am sure you will pick up some business.

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